Competition FAQs

We have compiled some frequently asked questions and corresponding answers. If you need additional information regarding the competition, please email

What is the NC State Grand Business Challenge?

Focusing on IT security, the NC State Grand Business Challenge introduces MBA students to the pharmaceutical industry and presents an opportunity to gain exposure and insight into real-world business challenges, all while evaluating how they react under pressure.

Who can Participate?

The NC State Grand Business Challenge is an invitation-only competition consisting of full-time MBA students from business schools throughout the world. Currently practicing physicians are not eligible to be on a team.

When and where will it be held?

The NC State Grand Business Challenge will be held on February 20-22, 2020. The event will be held at various locations located on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus.

Is there fee to enter?

There are no registration or application fees. Merck has generously agreed to cover the cost of traveling, lodging, and group meals associated with the Grand Business Challenge.

How many members should each team have?

Each team is required to have four participants all of whom must be full-time MBA students. In the event a team member is unable to participate, the team must register an alternate full-time MBA student via email to Please note that once travel arrangements have been made, changes to your team roster are not allowed.

What resources can each team access during the challenge?

Before the challenge teams may leverage any resources they want to research the clues to include faculty members and subject matter experts. However, once students arrive on campus for the challenge the faculty members and subject matter experts should not be contacted regarding the challenge.

What is the dress code?

During the presentations, business professional attire is required. Business casual attire is recommended during non-presentation activities.

Can more than one team from a single school compete?

No, only one four-member team per school may compete.

Will NC State make hotel arrangements?

We will provide accommodations at StateView Hotel which is on Centennial Campus. If alternative accommodations are required, please specify in the team registration.

What transportation resources are available?

Transportation arrangements to and from Raleigh, NC are being managed via a travel agent.  The agent will contact the teams directly to confirm travel details. Once travel arrangements have been made, changes to a team’s roster will not be allowed.

Shuttles will be provided throughout the competition to ensure all participants are able to get to and from the various event locations and presentations.

Will transportation be provided to/from the airport?

No – ground transportation will not be provided to or from any airports.  Uber or Lyft are great options for transportation to and from Raleigh Durham International Airport.  

Where can I eat during my stay?

There will be some group meals provided during the competition.  Breakfast is included and will be available at StateView Hotel. Mission Valley Shopping center is nearby with a good variety of restaurants. There are also plenty of local restaurants to order take-out.

Where do I go in case of a medical emergency?

Rex Hospital
4420 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 784-3100
Hours: open 24 hours

If I have general questions, who do I contact?

Please direct any challenge-related questions to